Relative Sin

We all have our favorite sins. In fact, I believe we have two categories of favorite sins. We have our favorite sins that we like to commit. We don’t believe they are really bad sins. In fact, we may not think they are sins at all. They are really just little missteps. We don’t think they really hurt anybody so they are of the no-harm-no-foul variety. We know we would be better off without them, but there are certainly much worse sins out there.  One of these days we will get around to stop doing them. Probably when we are old and they aren’t so much fun. Some of us call them venial sins. “Venial” means “slight” or “pardonable.” These sins tend to be sins of the mind or perhaps sins that occur in private. That’s one of the reasons they are our favorites. We really don’t like people to know we have sins, or should I say faults. We like to keep such things private. They are really nobody’s business.

That brings us to the second group of favorite sin: the sins others commit. They tend to be much more public and everybody’s business. After all that’s how we know about them. They are VERY serious. We usual consider them mortal. “Mortal” means you deserve to be in hell for committing them. They are “unpardonable.” We often believe it’s our job to make the lives of those who commit these kinds of sins a hell on earth. After all, these are the sins, and the sinners, who are tearing down our churches and our countries. These are the kinds of sins that should land you in jail. The committers of these sins may beg for forgiveness, but you have to draw the line somewhere. We believe we should not even hang around with people who commit these kinds of sins. They probably have something we could catch that would lead us to commit the same kinds of sins. We kick these kind of sinners out of our churches or, even better, don’t let them in, in the first place.

It’s really a very good system, this two category of sin thing. It really and fairly separates the bad from the not so bad. It’s such a good system based on such a reasonable set of distinctions that it’s a bit strange that it’s not mentioned in scripture. Oh well, God couldn’t put everything in there. That would take away all the fun. Wouldn’t it?

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